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U.S. Travel Association reports that over half of US workers did not use all of their vacation days last year. In total, 222 million vacation days remained unredeemed last year. Here at McCool Travel, we like to create Happy Travelers and help solve this perplexing problem of people not taking their allotted and earned vacation time. Even when people do take vacations, they remain tethered to their electronic devices, making vacations not very relaxing.
Certainly some people prefer to work rather than take time off but for those who really want to get away from the office, here are some no-tech destinations in the United States to get away and enjoy a digital detox trip. Or, if you are a manager, these are primo places for corporate unplugged retreat team building boondoggles.
Travel Happy at These No-Tech Destinations
Lake Powell Resort, in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area at Wahweap Marina in Page, offers comfortable lodging and suites, terrific dining, and an ideal place to return to each evening after a day of fun and relaxation. Take a boat tour, dinner cruise, or rent a powerboat for an afternoon of exploring canyons and having a picnic on your own secluded beach. Wi-Fi only in lobby and Driftwood Lounge and cell service is not great (Verizon is strongest).
Mendocino County. About a two and a half hour drive north of San Francisco, your phone will start to lose service as you find Mendocino County. The area offers breathtaking coastlines, spectacular hiking trails, top-notch wine country, delicious food, and more. With a small town vibe where everyone is friendly and relaxed and you’ll chat with locals and regular visitors. Spend a weekend enjoying the natural beauties and bring a book to relax with. Stay at the Little River Inn right on the coast where you’ll find everything you need to get away. (Thank you Megan MacNee for the suggestion and photo.)
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks provide the perfect backdrop for people to plug in to nature. The parks boast the largest tree in the world, one of America’s deepest canyons, and the tallest peak in the lower 48 United States. In their combined 865,964 acres, the parks have almost zero cell phone or internet connectivity and force visitors to truly live in the moment. John Muir Lodge in Grant Grove (Kings Canyon National Park) has some cell reception but Wuksachi Lodge (Sequoia National Park) has none. Both accommodations offer limited Wi-Fi via satellite in their common areas.
Smith Fork Ranch, located just 20 miles from Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, is secluded and intimate, boasting luxurious comfort, attention-to-detail hospitality, and five-star farm-to-table cuisine, blended with authentic western experiences and Rocky Mountain outdoor adventures. The Ranch caters to just 28 guests per week and Wi-Fi is hard to come by there. You might get a faint connection in the main house, though even there it can be spotty for all carriers, as it is super secluded. There is no Wi-Fi during on-ranch and off-ranch excursions.
Far View Lodge, in Mesa Verde National Park, offers great hiking, historic tours of the cliff dwellings, wildlife watching, stargazing opportunities from the room’s private balconies, and the freedom from the distractions of everyday life. There is no cell service in rooms but some Wi-Fi in public areas and rooms.
Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area is the largest contiguous wilderness in the United States outside of Alaska. A multi-day outfitted rafting trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area offers fishing, hiking, and great guide services—including setting up your camp, preparing gourmet meals, entertaining adults and kids, and sharing history and lore. Once rafters leave the put-in location north of Stanley in Idaho’s central mountains, they are surrounded by alpine forests, rugged mountains, dramatic canyon walls, and crystal clear water. There is no cell service or Wi-Fi on the river.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is the biggest wilderness east of the Rockies, with 1.3 million acres and a network of 1,200+ lakes and 1,500 miles of remote canoe routes connected by streams and portages. The BWCAW is one of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s “50 Places of a Lifetime.”
Lake of the Woods, the nation’s seventh-largest lake, stretches across the Canadian border, cutting off a tiny slice of America—the Northwest Angle—the northernmost point in the continental U.S., from land access to the rest of the country. Lake of the Woods offers world-class fishing, in quiet isolation.
Voyageurs National Park has no roads, so travelers traverse the four large lakes and 26 interior lakes that cover 40 percent of the park itself. Straddling the Minnesota-Canadian border, this remote 218,000+ acre national park is the perfect “two-nation vacation,” and largest freshwater-based national park.
Springwater Center in Finger Lakes, helps individuals escape the buzz of everyday life with silent meditation retreats. Especially popular among individual travelers, the essence of Springwater retreats is being together in the open space of silent awareness. Springwater Center is situated on 22 acres of country land with streams, meadows, forests, a pond, and miles of walking trails. There are four Quiet Week periods scheduled throughout the year where specific areas in the house are kept in total silence.
Defiance House Lodge is located in Bullfrog, directly across the lake from Halls Crossing Marina. This hotel is your gateway to unlimited land and water adventures—whether a day trip of canyon-cruising on a rental powerboat or the in-the-water thrill of wakeboarding, waterskiing, or riding one of their personal watercraft. Wi-Fi is spotty, contingent on how many are using it and cell service is not great (Verizon is strongest).
Lake Crescent Lodge, in Olympic National Park and Forest, is nestled among the giant fir and hemlock trees on the shores of beautiful Lake Crescent, Built in 1915, Lake Crescent Lodge is a charming turn-of-the-century resort with an antique-furnished lobby, large stone fireplace, cozy sun porch, and stunning sunsets over the lake. There is no Wi-Fi in guest rooms, limited Wi-Fi in the lobby, and limited cell service.
Lake Quinault Lodge, in Olympic National Park and Forest, is a grand and rustic lodge built in 1926. Visitors can unwind in front of the majestic fireplace, dine in the historic Roosevelt Dining Room, curl up with a good book by the lake, paddleboard or fish, or venture deep into the temperate rainforest and enjoy the cool shade of the giant trees. There is limited Wi-Fi and cell service in guest rooms.
Log Cabin Resort, in Olympic National Park and Forest, offers a variety of accommodations including Lakeside Chalets, Comfortable Lodge Rooms, Camper Cabins, Rustic Cabins, Camping Log Cabins, as well as Full hook-up RV sites and tent camping sites. Guests can enjoy a variety of boat rentals including paddle boats, stand up paddleboards, canoes and kayaks; bike rentals, hiking and more. There is no Wi-Fi in guest rooms or lobby and limited cell service.
Ross Lake Resort, in North Cascades National Park, has 12 different floating bunkrooms and cabins that line the Northwestern shore of Ross Lake. This remote resort near Mount Baker allows guests to check out without cell service or internet and is only accessible by hiking, boat, or the Diablo Lake Ferry. Ross Lake Resort runs from mid-June through the end of October.
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, in Olympic National Park and Forest, is surrounded by towering evergreens along the Sol Duc River in a picturesque valley. Visitors can enjoy the three Mineral Hot Spring soaking pools or the Freshwater Pool. There is no Wi-Fi or cell service.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Green Bank Science Center, in Green Bank, is engaged in an international endeavor called Breakthrough Listen—searching over 100 galaxies for signs of intelligent life. NRAO is open for public tours and you will not find cell service or Wi-Fi anywhere in Green Bank. You can find lodging at nearby Snowshoe Mountain ski resort (open year round) or in the restored company houses at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Other areas of interest include Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, the Cranberry Wilderness, and Highland Scenic Highway. You can “get lost” here for days on end, enjoying the peaceful solitude of wilderness and farmland.
Find Your Own Spot
Discussing this topic with some friends, one who is a big time sales wonk for a major telecommunications company, my wife came up with the idea of looking at those wireless coverage maps in reverse. Find the places on the map where they DO NOT have coverage and go there on vacation.
You may also like my article about the Loneliest Road in America. I had no cell service for over 2 hours and I see that area is white on both wireless coverage maps.
What are your favorite USA no-tech destinations?